It’s very strange to be back in NY for a few days. I lived here for ten years and then two years ago we moved to California. And in those two years I guess I’ve surprised myself by putting down some roots in LA. Since I graduated from college I have thought of myself as a New Yorker — displaced or not. But being back here right now (for only three nights) has been shocking. I guess I’m truly one of those bi-coastal people who lives in two cities. The trade off for calling two places home is that, actually, neither is. I do spend a lot of time packing.
1. On my first day here in NYC I got off the train at the wrong stop. WHAT? I’ve got that subway map memorized. What better way is there to feel like a tourist than to come up from the subway, look around, and realize you’re completely in the wrong place? To my own credit, at least I did remember which direction to walk to get to my correct destination. But what should have taken me 30 minutes took more like an hour. That never used to happen.
2. I can’t sleep here. That always happens the first few nights I’m back in the city after having been away. Oh, the noise! Oh the light creeping in the window shades! Oh the sounds of the elevators and the garbage trucks and the radiators! I lay awake in that horrible cycle of willing myself to sleep and stressing out because I’m not asleep. And then suddenly it’s morning and I have a busy day of New York ahead of me.
3. Water pressure in Manhattan sucks. I mean, come on. You spend half of your shower dodging the blast of freezing cold water and the other half of your shower trying to withstand the scalding hot torrents. Believe me, it does not average out to lukewarm.
Okay, I’ll grant you that there’s no greater city and that you can accomplish more in a day in NY that in several days anywhere else. And my friends in NY are the deepest, oldest (sorry), truest friends of my life. I miss them desperately, and when I visit I’m always overscheduling myself, trying desperately to fit work and theater and social time into a trip that’s not nearly long enough. When I’m sitting at breakfast with my best girlfriend in the whole world, believe me, I’d trade all the scalding showers and the sleepless nights and the days of bad subway karma just to be able to see her on a more regular basis.
Alas. I have the bicoastal blues.